Originally Posted by AVTechMan
You've possibly given me an idea on working with my collection using the two-monitor method. I had recently built an i7 3930K video editing workstation with a dual monitor setup so it would be a perfect way to work with all the HD material on one and different stuff on the other. I usually process all my new rips and get everything squared away before transferring it to the server, just to ensure that everything plays right and there are no issues.
An excellent post!
My way is not for everyone. DarkSlayer thinks I am an idiot and insists I should rip directly to the server.
I think one of the biggest factors for me isn't just the complications and extra steps- but that I can navigate and control the process with a high level of precision. My workstation is powerful (4770k i7) and the monitors are large, and I have 3. The mouse and keyboard are pretty good too. I'm just accustomed to, and prefer, and appreciate the high level of control and experience I have so when it comes time to do something tedious like media managing- I just enjoy doing the task on my workstation. Of coarse you could do all this locally, or even within an RDP session- but you are going to give up a lot of PC luxury , a lot of performance, and a lot of control.
I open up MakeMKV on my big monitor because just checking and unchecking the boxes for which audio tracks, which subtitles I want and I do not want is a PITA. It's easy for once rip, but if your doing this constantly you will appreciate big monitors and fine controls on your mouse.
Once I start ripping my first MAKMKV session I move the MakeMKV window over to my third monitor, and open up a new instance of the program and rip another bluray. I use the main largest monitor, and then again move it over to the other monitor. This allows me to do multiple rips as the same time too. A huge bonus in time savings
It works for me because I already own my workstation and would likely own it even if I did not use it for media management so for this reason it's FREE. But if someone had to invest in a workstation only for the the purpose of media management it's probably out of the budget of everyone around here (except Japan Dave)
I'm $1500 into displays alone- (they are not even great either). I'm over $400 in mice and keyboards and mouse pads (that's more than some HTPC's
) My desktop case is $350, my PSU is $150, and my CPU is $300. RAM is $100, Mobo $140, I've got $500 worth of SSD's (dual boot RAID 0 array and a normal single SSD) I have a RAID 0 scratch disk that just way faster than your going to get over gigabit LAN. I have the nice Logitech THX 5.1 speakers, a nice desk and chair... For me there just is no other way to do it. I could never do it on a basic PC, or a laptop. And doing inside an RPD session, or directly on the server with a single monitor would be frustrating.
For me - my media management is a constant chore. It's not something I just do once and never again. It's something I do constantly because I am always acquiring new media. Keeping up on TV alone is a chore, even if I never got another movie. But then again I am a home theater enthusiast- and I do all this because it's my hobby. Often times people go above and beyond for a hobby that does not make sense to others. I know some guys that spend a lot more on Golfing than I ever would on HTPC. I have friends into cars (they drive expensive sports cars or built race cars) and others that are into boating (again spending a lot on boats and boating) It's relative to what makes you happy and how far you are willing to take things.
A quick visit to the dedicated theater building forum will show you some crazy levels people take their "hobby" of home theater. In the grand scheme of things I probably have spent about $1000 a year on this hobby on average over last 5 years. Once you build a server for $1000 or $2000 it's going to last you many years (more than 5) usually so it's not crazy expensive to spend a few hundred dollars a year average on a media server. But adding quickly in my head my desktop workstation I think I'm well over $5000 on just that machine so I guess it does add up quickly. I don't notice it as much spending a little at a time here and there, justifying a small upgrade here or there.
If you have a workstation or a very nice PC with good performance and also with nice big multiple displays- it's a no brainer to use it. It will save you lots of time and your results will be better. The performance is better, the process is easier. For me I get great enjoyment when things are easy, and it works well. It make's the investment worth it and increases my satisfaction. If I was stuck doing it all on a HTPC hooked up to my TV, or a laptop or some general PC I'd get frustrated. Working over LAN sucks too- as it takes a long time to run refreshes and do certain things as compared to a fast local scratch disk. A dual monitor video edit workstation is perfect for media management. I'd say do it, once you start you will never look back.
The other part of how I do it has to do with having lots of media. If you have a big collection and you rip directly to it- it becomes harder to just find the new item that needs attention too. I like doing it a few at a time locally then copying them to my server. It would take me a page of scrolling just to get to the later letters in the alphabet the alternative way. It must be a personality thing because I often encounter people that do things different than me.
This weekend I was in my dad's garage doing a project subwoofer DIY build and I wanted to listen to music but he uses a "boom box" style CD player thing for music; It sounds not so good ... So I went home (down the street) and got a receiver and speaker pair I have from my place. I came back, hooked it up. (stripped the speaker wire, spread the speakers, hooked my iphone up) My dad watched me and said multiple times I would just have used the boom box. But I could not do that. If I am going to listen to music I want it to sound good. Otherwise, I'd rather just go without. I can't appreciate poor distorted sound. It just bothers me. The entire process of hooking up the stereo probably took me 15 minutes - but the enjoyment of my efforts lasted for the entire 6 hours I was there.
I think media management is the same way. I am not sure I would be able to do it any other way once I am accustomed to doing it my way. I would get angry over the extra time LAN was taking, the limited displays, or input controls. The lack of PC horsepower would annoy me too. Perhaps for a single time I could tolerate it- but I would never want to live with a less idea set up long term. I can't even use a laptop anymore. I was at my Dad's for the football game sunday and I picked up my mom's i3 laptop with a 500GB spinner HDD and windows 7 home. (it's a fresh install I did for her) Just trying to navigate to DirectTV web page and sign into the NFL SUNDAY TICKET was a major chore. I hated the mouse control, the slowness (it seems to take forever to do anything). It's impossible for me to use something like that anymore. It's decidedly horrible. I find myself "waiting" to do anything PC related, or web surfing until I am on my desktop. My laptop never gets used anymore (even though I upgraded to SSD). My wife uses it for pictures and web surfing still- but I find I would rather just go on my desktop. Sometimes it amazes me laptops are as popular as they are. I don't think people understand what they are missing, or have really experienced a good PC. Even the $1000 i7 DELL people think is good usually is poor performance. I played with a $1000 PC combo at Costco and was mortified it was so horrible.
It all comes down to what you are accustomed to. If you never knew about high speed internet dial up might seem fine. If you never knew about SSD for your OS then a HDD might seem fine. This is the same thing. Just like someone with a $100k car might get into a $10k Chevy and think it's terrible car to drive. But there is millions of $10k cars being driven around every day with happy owners. It's all relative to what you know, and all related to how far you are willing to take things or what performance you think you are worth. I am pretty sure if you start using your workstation you would never look back.